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Victoria

Event Recap - Members Only Roundtable with Australia's Consul General to Shanghai

02 October 2017

We were privileged to have Mr Graeme Meehan, Consul General to Shanghai speak at our members' roundtable on 2 October in Melbourne.
 
Graeme is halfway through his four year posting to Shanghai, one of the largest commercial and financial centres in the Asia-Pacific region. With neighbouring Jiangsu and Zhejiang provinces, Shanghai forms part of the dynamic Yangtze River Delta – a region that accounts for about one third of Australia's total trade with China.
 
The Consulate-General in Shanghai covers five provinces, in addition to the municipality of Shanghai, with a combined population of over 320 million, offering significant trade and investment opportunities for Australian business. 
 
Mr Meehan has extensive experience working on China issues, both in Canberra and overseas.
 
He spoke on the economic and political situation in China at present, outlining that economic reforms are being put in place with a more service and consumer focus, following the negative impact of the Global Financial Crisis which left China over industrial capacity, with growing debt and a reliance on investment to stimulate growth. Given China's goal to double their GDP in 2010-2020, a 6.5% growth rate is needed over the next 3 years to meet that target.
 
When assessing the impact of this on Australia, Mr Meehan highlighted the great deal of variation across China. He stressed that overall, Australian companies taking advantage of the positive affects of the China Australia Free Trade Agreement need to be resilient and highlighted the trade and investment areas such as resources, professional services, banking food, health, aged care, wine and skin care are growing markets.
 
Like Australia, China is changing and developing and areas such as technology and eCommerce, which are channels for Australian exporters to tap into the rising Chinese middle class who have growing aspirations in terms of international education, consumer products and holidays. With the ageing population, there are opportunities for Australians in providing facilities, care, retirement homes, nursing training, specialised geriatric nursing training and programs offered by TAFEs. Coal will continue to be a significant market, together with biotech and education.
 
Mr Meehan continued by highlighting opportunities around agri-tourism and meeting the increasing demands of free and independent travellers who come to experience Australia.  
 
We thank Mr Meehan for giving us his valuable time to brief ACBC Victoria members.